I know another study on gut bacteria. But seriously, when you think about it this stuff is pretty rad! Foreign bacteria exists in our guts sharing a symbiotic relationship with our bodies—tell me that’s not really cool. Not to mention these bacteria have numerous properties that aid in our daily functioning, like immune defense and digestion.
The link provided goes into detail about how our gut bacteria actually aids in digestion of more nutrients. In this particular study they looked at zebrafish and how they absorb fat when they had a particular bacteria in their gut—that bacteria is Firmicutes .
“The more a zebrafish eats, the more Firmicutes in its guts. And the more Firmicutes in a zebrafish’s guts, the more efficiently its intestinal cells absorb fat.”
So in straight terms: having a particular gut bacteria allow for more fat to be absorbed, at least in zebrafish, but this was also shown in humans . What’s interesting here is that the bacteria Firmicutes was lower in zebrafish that were not allowed to eat food for a few days. This was also shown in mice . Ah HA!! This study, while not stated explicitly, provides some insight into intermittent fasting (IF)!
IF, in case you did not know, is a tool that is super important in human health—at least I think so! What is IF? Well, IF is a pattern of eating followed by a duration of non-eating (usually more than 12 hours). What are the benefits of IF though?
Well, we stated one already. IF can help regulate gut bacteria. It can also aid to control hunger, regulated metabolic changes in metabolism, and even help people lose fat (to a certain extent). If you have more questions on IF I suggest checking out Dr. John Berardi’s beautifully constructed Experiments with Intermittent Fasting.
This study provides insight into the regulation of our own gut bacteria through intermittent fasting! I do think, however, that if you want to lose weight you should first consider changing your diet—following a more Paleo-like diet with lots of fats, vegetables, and proteins will definitely aid in weight loss. You can then toss in IF to help regulate your metabolism. But don’t expect to lose a whole lot of body fat (not necessarily weight) by intermittent fasting.
I IF on my rest days, that is usually 2 days a week. My fasting usually starts between 3-5pm in the afternoon and will carry on into the evening until the next morning. I usually stick to a 14-16 hour fast. Not too long!
- Ley R et al. Microbial ecology: Human gut microbes associated with obesity. Nature444, 1022-1023 (21 December 2006).
- Ivana Semova, Juliana D. Carten, Jesse Stombaugh, Lantz C. Mackey, Rob Knight, Steven A. Farber, John F. Rawls. Microbiota Regulate Intestinal Absorption and Metabolism of Fatty Acids in the Zebrafish. Cell Host & Microbe, 2012; 12 (3): 277.
- Crawford P et al. Regulation of myocardial ketone body metabolism by the gut microbiota during nutrient deprivation. PNAS 2009 (106);27:11276—112811.